Various Artists


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Well, what's the point here? Skaliente isn't a Grita artist sampler, or even a ska or rock en español compilation, but someone's at least taken the time to sequence it for a general flow from lighter ska to hardcore thrash; from intense to a cool-out finale. But if the goal was to introduce new groups through a handful of big names, there aren't many absolute revelations of bands here.

Two that could be to U.S. listeners -- Todos Tus Muertos and Kortatu -- don't get great introductions. The former's track is ordinary, and the latter's an ideological variation on the "La Bamba" habanera riff with skanking guitars. Rancid is more of a dub punk experiment, and Niños Con Bombas is more hard rock riffing than ska, Voodoo Glow Skulls is more third wave ska revival-thrash hormonal rush sans rhythm, and the Blind Pigs more Sex Pistols than ska (and this "Revolution Rock" ain't the Clash song). So you're left with the Allstonians as half-speed Madness with horns trying to be the Skatalites vs. Inspecter 7's well done, chicka-boom -- sort of like the Specials paced by a strong trombone/horn section (nod to the latter). The light and lively Los Skarnales vs. the horribly named One Groovy Coconut's prominent organ, with not much of a singer (three guesses). Kampo Viejo racing through too many change-ups including a "Rosalita" echo sax hook vs. Mephiskapheles' way-too-overwrought thrash that suddenly heads to jazz, and an overkill guitar solo (Skunk's Basque hardcore with ska downshifts and horns take both of 'em, no problem). But should you care? It's hard to muster enthusiasm for Skaliente when it seems to be just a bunch of semi-related bands thrown together on a compilation that has no real clear-cut reason to be.

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